Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The Christmas Cactus is a little early this year.  It bloomed the week of Thanksgiving, and it's beautiful.  It has about five hot pink blossoms.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

Emma and I spent last night cooking and prepping for our Thanksgiving feast today.  We prepped and stuffed our turkey to roast.  It was stuffed with oranges, lemons, garlic, fennel, carrots, celery, and parsley tossed in kosher salt, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Melted butter combined with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper was smeared under the skin of the turkey as well as on the skin.  This went into a Reynolds cooking bag and then into a roasting pan and into the fridge overnight.

We prepped the fresh turkey to go into its brine for about 20 hours.  It went into a 22 quart stock pot with kosher salt, brown sugar, water and ice.  We set it into a cooler out on the deck and it stayed icy cold.

Then, it was on to salad and sides.  We made a hearty turkey stock out of the giblets and necks.  They went into a soup pot with 4 quarts of water, the celery tops and leaves, tomatoes, onions, carrots, a potato, and fennel tops.    After the stock was strained, it was used in the stuffing.  It was used again on Thurs. to steam the broccoli, make the gravy,  and boil potatoes instead of water.  A subtle way to add that turkey richness to the other Thanksgiving dishes.

We made a simple molded Jell-o salad (lemon and orange).  We made a traditional stuffing.  It wasn't to be stuffed in the turkey, so we added three eggs and a can of Cream of Celery soup to keep it moist.

We made two pumpkin pies, two pecan pies, a pudding pie, and a gorgeous pan of sticky buns to serve for breakfast before throwing in the towel and going to bed about 2:00 A.M.  No need to count sheep last night!

Take a look at the sticky buns before they went into the fridge overnight.  

They went into the oven for 1/2 hour this morning.  Oh, they were so sticky, ooey and gooey, but oh so good!  We had Johnsonville sausage patties to go with them.  Mmmmmm!

We did a little decorating and cleaning, and then it was on to cooking again.  The green beans were trimmed and steamed in turkey stock, and then they went into Green Bean Casserole.  A must have for Thanksgiving!

Countless potatoes and sweet potatoes were peeled for mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes. Yummmm!  The potatoes were mashed with butter and evaporated milk.  The sweet potatoes were mashed with brown sugar, butter, maple syrup and nutmeg.  

Lots of hours went into our Thanksgiving meal, but it was so worth it.  Friends and family around our dining room table enjoyed everything.  I think the best part is getting the whole family into cutting the turkey and getting everything ready to serve.  My kids still love to help with this.  I think it's the best Thanksgiving moment every year - no matter how old they get.  I hope one day they'll share these moments with their own children.  

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